Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) rejected a demand from a privacy watchdog in Germany to allow the registration of fake names, arguing that the practice is legal in the country, according to report from the Associated Press.
The social network giant received a directive from Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein, requesting that the social network giant to let users create an account on its website using a pseudonym.
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According to Weichert, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s real name policy violated German and European regulations designed to uphold freedom of speech online.
Despite the order, Facebook stood firm in implementing its real name policy. In a statement, the social network giant said, “We believe the orders are without merit, a waste of German taxpayers’ money and we will fight it vigorously. The company claims that its real name policy is intended to protect users.”
According to the Associated Press, Weichert gave Facebook two weeks to respond and comply with the order. He warned that his office would impose a penalty against the company if it fails to comply with the order. The maximum fine would be €50,000 ($66,000).
Weichert said, “We have the right to prevent this data protection breach. Theoretically we can order the website blocked, but that would be disproportionate.”
The data protection commissioner previously warned investors from buying Facebook shares stating that Facebook’s “business model will implode” because the users’ private information is used by the company in violating the European law.
Germany has tough rules on data protection. Consumers enjoy significant privacy rights online. Technology companies are restricted in using the information provided by consumers on their websites.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has 20 million active users in Germany.